Have you ever had a fear of not remembering your Windows account password? You don’t have to worry if you’re willing to plan ahead. In this article, we take a look at one method you can use to reset your Windows 10 password.
A password reset disk is a removable storage device you can use to reset your password in the event you forget it. You’ll need the following to create one of these:
- Access to the local user account for which you wish to make the password reset disk
- A USB flash drive
Note that password reset disks apply to local user accounts. If your Windows 10 user account is connected to your Microsoft account, then you can follow the steps outlined here by Microsoft to begin the password reset process and therefore shouldn’t follow the advice in this article: https://account.live.com/ResetPassword.aspx
USB flash drives are quite inexpensive and even a minimal capacity variant will do: 1GB of less is plenty. Look online to find the best prices or visit a local store. Ideally you’ll only use this USB flash drive for use as a password reset disk and for nothing else.
The instructions contained within this article apply to all versions of Windows 10.
First, log in to your computer under the user account for which you wish to create a password reset disk. Once logged in, connect your USB flash drive to one of your computer’s USB ports. It may take a minute or two for Windows to finish installing the flash drive – you’ll be notified when it’s finished.
Next, it’s time to start creating the password reset disk. Open the Start menu (yes, it’s back) by clicking the Windows icon in the lower left of your screen. When opened, type control panel into the search and wait for the results to display.
Open the Control Panel by clicking it in the list of search results. It should be the first result listed.
(Note: although Windows 10 features a new Windows Settings desktop app to manage computer settings, it can’t be used to create a password reset disk which is why we’re going through the traditional Control Panel.)
In the Control Panel, ensure the View by drop-down at the upper right is set to Category (if not, change it). Then click the green User Accounts link. On the screen that follows, click the User Accounts link once more. Doing so will take you to your user account settings.
On the left side of the screen, click the link to Create a password reset disk. The password reset disk wizard will open in a new window.
In the first screen that opens, click the Next button. In the subsequent screen, select the USB flash drive that you connected to your computer earlier. This will likely be labeled D:\ or E:\. Click the Next button after you’ve selected your drive.
(Note you can’t select C:\ drive, which is where Windows is installed – it wouldn’t be very secure to have a file to reset your password on the same drive as the operating system.)
You’ll be asked to enter your password on the following screen; do so, then click the Next button. The wizard will now create your password reset disk. This should take less than a minute to complete. Click the Next button on that screen after it completes, and then the Finish button on the last screen to exit the wizard.
You’ve successfully created a Windows 10 password reset disk!
Using a Windows 10 Password Reset Disk
Using a password reset disk in Windows 10 is simple. At the Windows login screen, click your user account and then type your password incorrectly. A link will appear with the text Reset your password …. underneath it. Click this link and connect your USB flash drive password reset disk to your computer. Follow the few quick steps in the wizard to complete the process; you’ll be able to enter a new password for your account without having to know the current password.
Naturally, you’ll want to keep the password reset disk in a safe place as anyone with access to your computer can use it to reset the password for your user account.
Password reset disks are useful in the event you forget the password to your local Windows 10 user account. Note that the advice we provided applied to local accounts only – for Microsoft accounts, you’ll want to follow Microsoft’s guidance here to get your password reset: https://account.live.com/ResetPassword.aspx. Most non-business users running Windows 10 will likely be connected to a Microsoft account.
For local account users however, password reset disks can be especially useful in the event you’re setting up a computer for someone else, such as a family member, who you think may forget their password at some point. Create a password reset disk for them for such an event. Ensure you keep your password reset disk in a safe place, as anyone with access to your computer can use it to reset the password for that user account!